A museum-worthy collector's item, we are proud to offer this rare, George C. Whitney Co. Valentine in unbelievable Near Mint Condition dating Ca. 1881. This is a three-dimensional valentine with paper accordians beneath two layers of very unusual paper lace. The bottom layer of paper lace is a unique and early bi-colored paper lace with Wedgwood blue and white Greek Key designed plates incorporated into the design at each corner. There are German diecuts of flowers and foliage flanking each side. The central window features a rectangular portion of paper lace with the top raised from beneath by a paper accordion and a finely rendered diecut bust of a lovely young woman applied to the top. Below the woman, at the base of this second rectangle of paper lace is pink silk fringe running the width of the second rectangular piece of paper lace. The background paper of the Valentine is finely embossed with the same pink and white palette as pink Wedgwood jasperware. The inside verse is charmingly decorated with flowers, foliage butterflies, a vase with stars and a horseshoe with three and four leaf clovers. The verse reads, "Undying Love./I love thee with a lofty love,/I love thee with a tender love,/To win thee from all woe,/I love thee with a faithful love,/That knows no change in place or time, I love thee with undying love,/Immortal and sublime!" The Valentine is signed on the reverse with a red "W" and 1-1/2. This mark is for the George C. Whitney Co., an acquisition of the company originally found by Esther Allen Howland.
Esther Allen Howland, a direct descendent of John Howland, one of the original pilgrims who sailed to this country on the Mayflower in 1620, is credited with being the first American Valentine entrepreneur, manufacturing Valentines from a home business with the help of her family using imported papers and lace. She is said to have been responsible for extending the custom of exchanging Valentine greetings to the United States in her area of Worcester, Mass. where she founded and operated her successful home-based venture. In 1881, she sold out to George C. Whitney. Click here to see the mark on the reverse of the Valentine for the George C. Whitney Co.
We can find no defects to this piece and taking into consideration that this superb piece of Valentine ephemera has survived 126 years, we consider it Near Mint. It appears to be unused and remains unsigned. We doubt that even the most discriminating collector could find a piece in any better condition. For the serious collector, this authentic Near Mint original George C. Whitney Valentine is a once-in-a-lifetime find. Due to the fragile nature of this piece, we respectfully request that you ask all questions prior to shipping and consider the purchase a final sale to reduce handling on this very rare and important piece of Victorian Valentine ephemera. (26157-VictorianValentineGeorgeCWhitneyCo) To order this Rare Antique George C. Whitney Valentine, just click on the blue shopping cart button to the left of the picture, or email us at: Adon13@aol.com or telephone us at 773-929-9007 or fax us at 773-525-1920.
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For additional information or to place an order for this item, please feel free to email us at Adon13@aol.com or call (773) 929-9007.